You’ve double-checked what is on your training plan for the day. You have eaten your typical pre-run snack. Your shoes are tied just right. The weather is perfect. You are ready for what the road has to offer you today. You head out.
As it turns out, the open road or root-y trail has the first mile to offer you, and the first mile is a liar.
It happens to all of us. That first mile is a liar about our abilities. It tells us that our lungs can’t hang. It delivers a burn deep into your quads. It makes your water belt bounce a little. You struggle with your stride.
“Is that a niggle in my right knee?” You ask for the very first time.
Your sports bra doesn’t seem to be holding everything the same way she normally does.
The bud in your left ear keeps slipping out.
You have to make the choice. Do you laugh about how everything feels a little discombobulated? Do you stop and adjust every few steps? Do you just power through?
Anyone who has been running a while can’t help but laugh a bit when this comes up. It’s a universal truth! Before the sweat dampens your clothes to the right spot on your body and stays put, before the cold outside gives way to the warmth from within, before you have run enough steps to for your body to just take over, you have to mentally stay in the game. Your brain has to recognize that the first mile is a liar and you have to be ready to speak truth to the wind.
Run the first part with your head, the second part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.Mike Fanelli, Champion runner and 3-time USA National Team Coach
Here are the 3 main big, fat, hairy lies that the first mile tells us. Know them and be ready to fight
YOU ARE a fraud
This is the lie that stings the most. As I talk to women who are starting out in the sport, this is the one that I hear more often than anything else.
When you first set out for your distance for the day, it’s this lie that seeks to rob you of your freedom.
When everything seems just a little bit off for those first few minutes, it’s so easy to start believing that maybe you were wrong at the end of that last 5-miler or PR training run. Maybe it’s true that you aren’t really a runner?
If you allow this one to creep in, even a little, it can destroy the entire training session. It can obliterate your training mindset.
Just like the moment when Angie said, “You know what? I am a runner” on the podcast, you have to be ready to say those words OUT LOUD IF YOU MUST to your spirit!
Are your feet moving in a rapid (whatever that means for you) succession on the treadmill/single track/sidewalk?
THEN YOU ARE A RUNNER.
You should run a little faster
Warming up is critical to a successful training experience. That first mile is the perfect place to practice getting comfortable with running slow.
Take this time to loosen the joints and increase the blood flow to your muscles. Get everything prepared for the real work ahead.
While the first mile might be encouraging you to test out your sprinting ability to combat lie #1, this is a time to resist. It’s not worth it! It takes real discipline to keep the pace down and you can do it!
You should cut this one short
Runner’s math can get a little fuzzy, right?
We have all convinced ourselves of our computational genius out on the streets with nothing but our thoughts.
Well, I only have five miles left. That’s like a tad more than a 5k. I can do a 5k in X-minutes, so that number plus another half of that number means I’m done.”-Every runner ever
In that first mile, it’s easy to suddenly remember all of the other tasks on that never-ending to-do list that we are all mentally carrying around. It’s so easy to convince ourselves that every single other bullet point on that list is more productive than this run. Sometimes, we cave and let our fuzzy runner’s math slide to cut our run short.
Here is the thing though: it’s on the plan for a reason. Trust your plan. Trust yourself.
The first mile is NEVER the place to make decisions about the rest of your training run. Just keep moving forward.